The first business of Alibaba Group, Alibaba.com is the leading platform for global wholesale trade serving millions of buyers and suppliers around the world.
Through Alibaba.com, small businesses can sell their products to companies in other countries.
Sellers on Alibaba.com are typically manufacturers and distributors based in China and other manufacturing countries such as India, Pakistan, the United States and Japan.
The consumer electronics market is in the midst of a revolution. As manufacturing techniques produce better gear at lower costs, events such as Super September by Alibaba.com are putting highly affordable, high-end tech within easy reach of the mass market. Yes, it’s October but the event has been extended until October 19 due to high demand.
As well as being more readily available, our relationship to tech has changed too. It has gone from passive items we have around the home – TVs, game consoles, laptops, tablets – to include things we wear, we connect with, or designed to be integrated into our everyday lives in a way that’s never been done before.
But this paradigm shift is not without its challenges.
According to global consultancy Accenture, growth in the world’s consumer electronics market was down 20 percent last year compared to 2014 as the wide availability of existing technology such as tablets and smartphones meant that many people who had always dreamed of this kind of tech – now already owned it or, with events like Super September rapidly growing in popularity – will do soon.
What people want too is something new, and attempting to fill the void is a new level of consumer tech focused on the Internet of Things (IoT), a world where we’re immersed in technology, from virtual reality (VR) headsets to smart watches, drones to virtual assistants. According to tech research firm Gartner, by 2020 there will be 20.4 billion connected devices in use around the world.
According to Accenture, while growth in this area has not been enough to compensate for the drop in traditional tech, the stats show IoT slowly rising. Accenture said 13 percent of the 28,000 people it surveyed in 20 countries between October and November 2015 said they planned to purchase a smartwatch in the next year while 7 percent plan to buy a personal drone.
“The pace at which new consumer electronics products are entering the market is insane right now.” Says Amit Shah, CEO of creative agency Hirola Group. “We are being given a huge choice, whether it’s phones, smartwatches, cameras or home tech. The industry really is booming. This is great for customers because we can compare different products and prices and make sure we get the item that suits us best.”
Talk to Me
The rise of virtual assistants such as Alexa and Siri has contributed to a surge in technology with which we can interact and talk. With 33 million voice-activated devices in circulation, voice is becoming the go-to input for home tasks.
Products such as the Bianca, a washing machine by Italian manufacturer Candy for example, listens to consumers to perform the most effective washing cycle for their needs.
“The ability to control everyday tasks by voice within the home is finally allowing voice recognition to become universally adopted by consumers,” said Matthew Ellison of consumer research company The Shopper Agency. “The potential for this in the consumer electronics industry is huge, firstly to develop home automation — connected home — platform-compatible products, but also to consider voice interaction and control as a key future component for everyday consumer electronics products.”
As connected tech becomes more reliable, it’s also becoming more of a lifestyle companion. Devices that provide insight and advice on everyday routines are helping to shape healthier habits. Some products monitor stress levels in real time, offer tailored in-ear coaching, and even drive better listening, sitting, and sleeping habits.
Hayley Ard, head of consumer lifestyle at innovation research and advisory company Stylus, said: “One of the best examples we’ve seen comes from Hong Kong startup Platysens, which has designed a device called Marlin that attaches to goggles to provide in-ear guidance while swimming.
“It uses bone-conduction technology to send sound to the inner ear through vibrations, allowing swimmers to hear details on distance, speed and stroke rate while underwater. An accompanying app lets wearers define personal training goals or set a target pace.”
Something for the Kids
According to Hayley, many new products are geared towards Generation Alpha (age 0-7), who are as comfortable with technology in the great outdoors as they are being sung to sleep by a smart toy. Parents are warming to the idea of their children interacting with tech. According to global media company Viacom, 61 percent of parents think technology is making their kids smarter.
“Tech is playing an increasingly educational role in the way that parents engage and communicate with their children,” Hayley said. “A key trend we’re seeing is the use of tech to instil good habits from drinking water and sleeping well to completing task-oriented activities such as learning to code.” .
The road ahead
The consumer tech market may be advancing at breakneck speed and becoming easily accessible through events like Super September, but what does the future hold? According to Hirola’s Shah, that would be wearable tech that’s so small and subtle it could one day become part of our body.
“I predict that smart rings will hit the mainstream soon, bringing notifications and tracking technology to your fingertips,” according to Shah. “Hearables are also likely to make a breakthrough and will most likely take the form of hearing devices that can do more than just enable us to listen to music.”